Depression a Major Predictor of Sexual Dysfunction in Women with Type 1 Diabetes

April 28, 2009

A study in the April issue of Diabetes Care found "modestly high" rates of several types of sexual dysfunction in women with type 1 diabetes, with a strong association between sexual difficulties and depression.

Much research has been done on the relationship between diabetes and sexual dysfunction in men. But very little is known about the relationship between diabetes and sexual dysfunction in women. This study, part of the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study (EDIC), was the largest to date of sexual dysfunction in women with type 1 diabetes. Part of a prospective observational study of the risk factors associated with long-term complications of type 1 diabetes in women, it examined prevalence, type, risk factors and predictors of sexual dysfunction.

The researchers found that 35 percent of sexually active women in the study experienced some type of sexual dysfunction, including loss of sexual interest or desire, arousal or lubrication difficulties, painful intercourse and loss of orgasm. In contrast to studies of sexual dysfunction in men with diabetes, the presence of psychosocial factors (depression) was the strongest predictor of sexual dysfunction; glycemic control, strongly associated with sexual dysfunction in men, was not associated with female sexual dysfunction at all.

To reach lead researcher Paul Enzlin, PhD, at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies in Belgium, email or phone or

This research was supported by funding from the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the General Clinical Research Centers Program, National Center for Research Resources.

Diabetes Care, published by the American Diabetes Association, is the leading peer-reviewed journal of clinical research into one of the nation's leading causes of death by disease.  Diabetes also is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, as well as the leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, and non-traumatic amputations.


About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)